Media and Ethics of a European Public Sphere from the Treaty of Rome to the “War on Terror”

This project made innovative theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of a European public sphere (EPS). We proposed a new, networked and fluid conceptualisation of the public sphere. Thus we cast light upon an intellectual and popular European integration process which accelerated significantly in the second half of the 20th century, and has been underway for over two centuries.

The development of the Western as well as the Eastern EPS from the Rome Treaty to the “War on Terror” was analysed through the media. We identified five “crisis periods” in which the media discourse on Europe was examined and connected to an emerging public sphere. We devoted particular attention to questions of ethics and their mobilization in connection to the overall discourse on “European values” as well as to their political use.

We focused on the relevant media of each period studied, taking into account the technological development from printed media (newspapers) to radio, film, television and Internet, as well as the power implications of these technological dynamics. We analysed national editorial cultures and their evolution in the five crisis periods viewing comparatively how they frame notions of a European “ethical responsibility”.

We engaged in original research in two fields:

  • the evolution in visual media of European narratives that transcend language barriers
  • the actual and potential use of the Internet as a means to constitute the EPS and to increase citizen participation in it.

From a theoretical perspective, EMEDIATE refined the concept of the public sphere(s) in the European context. From an empirical perspective, it questioned the role of the media in creating and transforming an EPS. From a policy perspective, it developed ethical guidelines for media professionals, suggested models of “democratic dialogue websites” and produced innovative educational materials.

Funded by the European Commission Research DG, Sixth Framework Programme, Thematic Priority 7

Duration: 2004-2007
Project co-ordinator: Prof. Bo Strath, RSCAS, EUI (with Dr. James Kaye and Dr. Hagen Schultz-Forberg)
Partner for ELIAMEP, Athens, Greece: Dr. Anna Triandafyllidou